That's something I've learned, a few times, over the past year and a half. This has been true of figuring out who I am and where I fit in the world, what I want out of life, and of course my photography.
I recently started to read a book entitled Mastery by Robert Greene. I am only a few chapters in but I have already picked out a few snipets that I really like, that I feel apply to who I am.
“Most of the time we live in an interior world of dreams, desires, and obsessive thoughts. But in this period of exceptional creativity, we are impelled by the need to get something done that has a practical effect. We force ourselves to step outside our inner chamber of habitual thoughts and connect to the world, to other people, to reality. Instead of flitting here and there in a state of perpetual distraction, our minds focus and penetrate to the core of something real. At these moments, it is as if our minds—turned outward—are now flooded with light from the world around us, and suddenly exposed to new details and ideas, we become more inspired and creative.”
I can look back over periods of time in my life and see these intense bursts of focus in different areas. Currently, I am going through the opposite of one of those times, a time where my mind is constantly wandering and I have found it very easy to get discouraged when in these moments. And it's in these moments of wandering where I need to remember this next quote.
“To the extent that we believe we can skip steps, avoid the process, magically gain power through political connections or easy formulas, or depend on our natural talents, we move against this grain and reverse our natural powers. We become slaves to time—as it passes, we grow weaker, less capable, trapped in some dead-end career. We become captive to the opinions and fears of others. Rather than the mind connecting us to reality, we become disconnected and locked in a narrow chamber of thought. The human that depended on focused attention for its survival now becomes the distracted scanning animal, unable to think in depth, yet unable to depend on instincts.
It is the height of stupidity to believe that in the course of your short life, your few decades of consciousness, you can somehow rewire the configurations of your brain through technology and wishful thinking, overcoming the effect of six million years of development. To go against the grain might bring temporary distraction, but time will mercilessly expose your weakness and impatience.”
I am going through a time where I am looking for these shortcuts to get to where I want. Where I do focus on my natural abilities rather then continue to plug away and put the time and effort in when I do in the times I am excited by something. This reminder that Masters do not take shortcuts but put in the work to get to be where they are, is exactly what I needed right now.